Cybersecurity and Cybersafety: Risks and Solutions

When WiTT last hosted a discussion of cybersecurity trends, in 2017, the UK saw 60 serious cyber-attacks each month, according to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC, part of intelligence agency GCHQ). A report released in January 2022 by the NCSC said almost four in ten businesses (39%) and a quarter of charities (26%) had reported suffering cyber security breaches or attacks in the last year, and that it had taken down 2.3 million malicious campaigns – including 442 phishing campaigns using NHS branding and 80 illegitimate NHS apps hosted and available to download outside of official app stores.

These attacks aren’t only more common — they’ve become much more sophisticated. The 2017 WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware incursions — both the work of state-sponsored parties, according to the NCSC — spread broadly and randomly. Today’s ransomware attacks are much more sophisticated and targeted, with a goal of maximizing monetisation.

The online risks to our children have also increased. The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is concerned that the acceleration of people moving their lives online in the wake of the global Coronavirus pandemic has put children, particularly girls, at greater risk of exploitation. In 2021 IWF analysts investigated 361,062 reports of suspected criminal material — more than they dealt with in the entire first 15 years of their existence. Online bullying, grooming, and aggression are also on the rise.

What should we expect for 2022? Are there new threats we need to guard against? New technologies that will afford better protection? How will recent legislation affect those who process — and protect — personal information? How might it help to protect children from online threats? For our meeting in May, Women in Telecoms & Technology assembled an expert panel of speakers to discuss how individuals, companies, and governments can improve cybersecurity and counter a range of personal risks. The event was a hybrid of in-person and on-Zoom.

Our panel was chaired by Helen Kelisky, managing director for Google Cloud UK and Ireland. Our speakers were:

  • Eleanor Fairford , Deputy Director for Incident Management , National Cyber Security Centre;
  • Jenna Franklin, Legal Director, Privacy & Data Protection, Bird & Bird;
  • Flick March, Security & Resilience – Country Practice Leader at Kyndryl; and
  • Sharon Pursey OBE, CEO at The SafeToNet Foundation and Co Founder and Head of Strategic Alliances, SafeToNet Ltd.

We’ll post a link to a video of the event soon.

WiTT thanks Bird & Bird for hosting our event.

Speaker Bios

Panel Chair

Helen Kelisky
Managing Director
Google Cloud UK and Ireland

Helen Kelisky is managing director for Google Cloud UK and Ireland. She has overall responsibility for the company’s sales strategy and continued development of its sales operations in the region.

Before joining Google, Helen was Vice President for B2B Sales across EMEA for OpenText, and prior to this, Senior Vice President at Salesforce, responsible for establishing, setting the strategy, and leading the Cloud Sales organisation for UK and Ireland. Previously in IBM, Helen held a number of leadership roles, latterly heading up IBM’s Cloud business, leading the UK and Ireland organisation’s digital transformation to think and act ‘Cloud First’.

Given the enormous amount of change the world is experiencing – health, climate, technology and more – Helen believes it’s never been more important to champion diversity and inclusion in all its forms. She has been voted as one of the Most Influential Women in UK Tech for the last five years consecutively 2017-2021 (Computer Weekly), and lives in London with her husband and two children.


Sharon Pursey
Co-Founder, Head of Strategic Alliances & CEO
The SafeToNet Foundation

Sharon Pursey co-founded SafeToNet in 2013 with one mission in mind: to carve out a safer digital future for children across the globe. Alongside the benefits of the internet, children are increasingly exposed to harmful content, becoming embroiled in risks of cyberbullying, sexting and unwittingly engaging with sexual predators. SafeToNet exists to create the groundbreaking technology that is urgently needed to protect children against such harms.

Sharon is Head of Strategic Alliances at the SafeToNet and is CEO of The SafeToNet Foundation. She is one of the pioneers of the British Safety Tech industry. In 2021 she was awarded an Order of the British Empire for her services to international trade, an honour which recognises her work cultivating relationships between SafeToNet and change-making organisations such as the International Justice Mission, Digicel and Samsung, to ensure that children’s rights to safety are upheld. Together with these stakeholders and the team at SafeToNet, Sharon continues to drive the change needed to shape a society in which every child has equal and safe access to technology.

Sharon is an award-winning entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ experience in business development and as a business owner. Her achievements have been recognised by the Women in Business Awards, when she won the Rising Star award, and the Women in IT Awards, where she was shortlisted for Woman of the Year.

Eleanor Fairford
Deputy Director for Incident Management
National Cyber Security Centre

A generalist civil servant for the past 18 years, Eleanor has undertaken a range of policy and security roles at home and overseas in immigration, security policy and corporate services. Joining the NCSC when it began, Eleanor was responsible for the cyber assessment function providing reports on the cyber threat landscape for strategic decision makers in government. Eleanor took on the leadership of the Incident Management function within the NCSC and is responsible for leading the organisation’s response to cyber incidents.

Jenna Franklin
Legal Director, Privacy & Data Protection
Bird & Bird

Jenna Franklin is a Legal Director in Bird & Bird’s London-based International Privacy and Data Protection Group, and the Financial Services sector lead for the firm’s UK privacy and data protection practice.

With 15 years’ experience in financial services sector across UK, EMEA and APAC regions, Jenna provides practical, pragmatic advice to her clients based on extensive in-house experience.

Jenna advises on all aspects of data protection and privacy with a specific focus on advising financial services clients. Her clients range from international banks to small asset managers, pension funds and fintechs.

Prior to joining Bird & Bird, Jenna held a senior legal role at Santander as their lead privacy counsel, and she established their privacy legal team. She previously served as a DPO for a FinTech, Asto Digital Ltd., and acted as Vice President and primary legal adviser for data privacy across at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, EMEA (part of Ameriprise Financial Inc.), where she was responsible for the implementation of their GDPR programme.

Jenna Co-Chairs the Data Protection Finance Group, DPFG, a leading UK network of over 400 senior lawyers and privacy professionals across the Financial Services sector. She is a member of IRSG, SASIG, IAPP Women Leading Privacy and Women in Privacy, and is a speaker at international conferences and panel discussions.

Flick March
Security & Resilience – Country Practice Leader Kyndryl

Flick is the Security & Resilience Practice Leader for Kyndryl responsible for the Service capabilities, Engineering, Skills delivery and GTM. She is eminent in her field and majors in Cyber Resilience to ensure companies can recover from any event including Cyber-attacks. She has been the driving force in bringing Security & Resilience together as a practise and is very vocal at ensuring that Business process recovery is at the heart of the thinking to ensure core purpose, integrity and revenue are not impacted.

Flick has spent her life immersed in technology and she fully understands the importance of the need for rapid transformation into the Digital World as well as the risks of not having services available and has been supporting many businesses during this Pandemic.
Starting her career as a hacker, Felicity has worked with the technology giants for over 30 years, advising companies, governments and standards bodies on the emerging IT trends and baking integrity and sustainability into the heart of IT.

Felicity is also is an advocate of driving STEM skills into the younger generation and is an active mentor and coach to the next generation of technologists, winning the 2020 Women in IT Security Champion of the Year and was short listed for Most Influential Women in IT for 2021.
She leads IBMs Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Wellbeing/Mental Health team being a qualified Mental Health First Aider.

She lives in Winchester with her family, two dogs and not enough motorbikes!